Sunday, November 30, 2008

Name That Puppy!

Yesterday I was reminded of where all this licking comes from -- Cadi's dad, Marshall. Marshall's mom wrote, "... I have always called Marshall the "licky freak" so I fear Cadi comes by that gene naturally..." So, cleanliness is a family trait -- wish that particular trait extended to my human family members!

Puppies are doing so well but they are a talkative bunch. This is, no doubt, Marshall's fault as well! Cadi is a girl who likes to share her opinion and apparently the puppies are starting early. Everyone is doing so well that I moved to my bed last night, which is located about ten feet from the whelping box, as I have previously mentioned. The puppies are a chatty bunch and their every noise wakes me up. I literally got up 6 - 7 times last night to make sure everyone was okay. Usually it was just someone practicing an opinion but occasionally someone had wandered away from the rest and so was sending one of those puppy SOS signals.

Cali asked if Geneva does better with low flow nipples and we think she does. The rear of the Dairy Bar is where the prime seating is -- no sucking is required as the milk practically gushes. Geneva does better in one of the forward seats where the milk flow is less abundant.

Today I wanted to share more names (with comments) from Elizabethanne; I share them with her permission. I am sure you will agree that she is quite entertaining -- and good!

"Going Places (gee, where'd I get THAT idea???)

Global Affair (any of the names you picked for the puppies are nicely

Golden Jubilee (Still working that party theme)

Gimme Shelter (Mick or Jagger)

Gideon's Trumpet (call name Henry, cuz Henry Fonda played Gideon in the
movie; or some appropriate legal name)

Just kidding on this one: Groundhog Day (cuz didn't you just HAVE a bunch
of puppies???)

Get Your Groove On (Dancer?)

Gung Ho

Greased Lightning (Danny)

Gold Rush (Rush)

Gold Digger

Gold Coast

Grand Prix

Golly Gee Whillikers (call name Will or G)

Going My Way (Bing)

G.I. Jane (Jane or Demi)

Go West (West)


Get Real (call name Truth)

Gidget Goes Hawaiian (if you had a puppy going there this would be cute!)

Gladiator (Russell)

The name you'll want to give all the pups by the time they are 8 weeks: Get
Outta Here!"

Nicole, my daughter, also enjoys thinking of names and has some fun ones; she shares the following:

"Golden Goose: Butterball
Git R Done: Rodeo/Cowboy
Grand Entrance: Red/Paparazzi
Golden Ticket: Wonka
Greetings: Season
Greatest Sock Eater: Credit/Zipper
Going Crazy: Sane
Glue: Elmer"

And in the spirit of names, it is time for our first "Name That Puppy"! There are three close-ups -- can you name that puppy??

Hope you will name your day wonderful! Thanks for visiting :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

One Week Collage

One Down, Seven to Go (weeks, that is!)

We have all arrived safely at the one-week mark! So many things can go wrong in that first week and so it is a big relief to have it done. We will be taking one-week pictures and making a collage so watch for that later.

Whitby is a star today! His picture has made the homepage of the Berner-L. You have already seen the picture but it is fun to see it there and you can join the Berner-L if you haven’t already at:

Geneva continues to blow milk bubbles but I think it is at a reduced rate. She is one of the smaller puppies but her weight gain is perfectly fine. I had a dream last night that Toronto had opened his eyes this morning! He hasn’t but I think the dream is a reflection of my amazement at his size and growth – he is gi-normous, as Megan and Molly would say! Sydney is keeping up with the boys and is about their size – she is a little tank.

Both Toronto and Jamaica like to explore. Several times a day they send out a puppy SOS to be rescued from some remote place in the whelping box and/or because they have left the safety of the fleece and found themselves trapped on slippery linoleum.

Yesterday Galen was holding and admiring Hudson - he is a stunning boy (Hudson, but Galen is cute also). Galen was talking to him to get his attention so he could look at Hudson's face. I had to point out that Hudson is both deaf and blind and so saying, "hey, hey" probably would not have any effect :)

Cadi continues to be an amazingly good mom. We are used to clean puppies but these almost sparkle! They are so plump and it is fun to hold their solid little bodies. Ever since Marti noted the dark rust I have marveled at that – already their colors are so vivid. And yes, they do have such tiny little ears!

Yesterday I made an appointment to interview a new vet clinic. This one is promising – five vets and they have someone on site 24 hours a day. They had a vet available to come out and do dewclaws yesterday BUT he would not use a local anesthetic. This is pretty typical actually and many breeders remove their own dewclaws (well, their own puppies’ dewclaws). However, while numbing the area does hurt for a second, it blocks the pain of the removal and for several hours after so I do not understand why that is not standard of care?! As I mentioned to Galen, they used to circumcise infants without anesthesia (he cringed – probably more from the mention of a private body part than the idea of circumcision without anesthesia) and so I think veterinary medicine is just a little behind. So I elected to stick with the Monday removal of dewclaws by the mobile vet but I will meet with a vet from the no anesthesia clinic on Tuesday. We will find a good match for us yet!

I included a couple of pictures that show the puppies' reverse hourglass figures! Also, can you tell which one is Sydney and which one is Jamaica?? I bet Cali can ;)

I want to give a shout out for Trish, Jed's mom. Not only did she go out of her way to make this litter happen on her end, but she is as excited about the puppies as I am! It is very fun to have someone to "gush" with and we sometimes exchange emails just to say how incredibly cute the puppies are! Yes, we are both proud grandmas for sure -- with all that is associated with that. I supposed we will soon have bumper stickers that say, "My Grandpuppies are Cuter Than Yours"!

I bet your grandmas thought you were a most perfect baby -- isn't unconditional love and acceptance such a gift! Let's spread it around today!

Thanks for your visit and have a loving, perfect day!

Friday, November 28, 2008


The puppies are not officially six days old until tonight so here are the 5.5 day old weights -- the first number is birth weight and the second is weight this morning (in ounces):

Jamaica: 12.15/26.8
Geneva (aka "Bubbles"): 14.4/26.95
Ireland: 13.6/28.05
Sutton: 16.25/31.35
Whitby: 14.0/32.2
Sydney: 17/34.05
Hudson: 17.15/35.4
...and the winner of the Heavyweight Title...
Toronto: 19.35/37.9!

WalMart Here We Come -- NOT!

Thanksgiving at Puppy Central was just another day of feasting for the Glitterati. Puppies typically double their birth weight at 7 - 8 days -- Jamaica and Whitby doubled their birth weight last night at just five days and the rest should double today! Cadi does everything well, but who knew that she would be so skilled at milk? The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America has a variety of Top Producer awards -- maybe Cadi thinks there is a Top Producer of Milk award?!

Whatever she is doing and for whatever reason, it is working! These puppies are growing so well and they look great. I weigh them morning and night, and will post their morning weights later so you can see for yourself.

Cadi is definitely more relaxed and will even leave the whelping box for short times. She is careful with her babies now and continues to be very, very attentive to them and especially to keeping them spotlessly clean. I mentioned that she does not like to eat away from them and so I feed her next to the whelping box. Well, that was not good enough -- now she picks up her bowl and takes it into the box to eat! She is a clever girl :)

Cadi's increased attention to detail and the puppies increased size means that the Puppy Safety Patrol can transform a bit. We have continued to split the night shift -- I go to bed at 7 p.m. and get up at 1:30 or 2 a.m., although this morning Galen managed to stay awake until nearly 3 a.m.!!! I feel like I slept in -- and isn't that sad in a funny sort of way??!! But tonight we will transition to a less vigilant plan -- I will "sleep" in a chair next to the whelping box. After a few days of this, I will move to my bed, which will be about ten feet away from the whelping box. And then the whole show will move to Utah -- I am trying not to think about how we will manage that feat!

When the puppies nurse and the milk lets down, they have started to make the sweet little noise that all puppies seem to make -- it sounds like, "uh, uh, uh, uh..." Their bodies get still as they focus on what I imagine is a torrent of milk, and then they drop off like satisfied ticks. They usually just fall asleep on the spot, head next to Cadi or on a sibling, in a stupor of fullness much like most of America felt last night, I suspect!

My goal today with the pictures was to begin to help you identify puppies. I took close-ups of two boys that I think are distinctive. Hudson is the one with more white on his muzzle; one of his white paws is also visible. Hudson (Rock Hudson, according to Joan) is perfectly marked and very good-looking. The other close-up on the blanket (thanks again Liz) is Toronto. He has a wide blaze but less white on his muzzle. Toronto is a big, solid puppy who likes to take laps around the whelping box! The two puppies together that are both right side up are Ireland and Jamaica. Ireland has more of a blaze but is dark on the right side of her muzzle, while Jamaica has a very skinny blaze and a little more muzzle white. Finally, that is Whitby on Cadi's rear paws. Aren't the puppies just adorably perfect?!

The puppies have decided not to join the shopping crowds today so we will sit out this traditional start of the spending -- oops, I mean holiday -- season. Instead we will continue to enjoy this quiet, precious time of new life and growth, and leave WalMart for those brave souls who enjoy a real challenge!

I hope your day is spent doing what you love -- shopping, working, playing or whatever it is! Thanks for checking in with us today.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Drama of the Dewclaws

One thing I like about having dogs is the opportunities they present to learn more about myself. Yesterday I was invited to give a talk at a local hospice and so I did that, stopped for groceries and raced home to get the house cleaned up a bit before the vet arrived to do the dewclaws. I waited and waited, but this is normal for my vet when she makes house calls. They finally called -- they thought I was coming in to the clinic! I am not sure how that mix-up happened but I have never taken puppies to a clinic at this age and have no plans to start!

I had already decided to switch vets and so had an appointment to interview a new one next Tuesday -- I called that clinic to see if their vet would be willing to make a house call. The person from that clinic who called me back did not just say no but essentially "heck no". (I try hard not to swear but if I did, the response I got would not include the word, "heck").

So, there I was -- day before Thanksgiving -- with no vet in sight, and dewclaws. It does not help that I know almost nobody here -- I was seriously missing my vets back in Salt Lake City. I got the idea to call one of the two dog people I know and she gave me some great ideas. I called a mobile vet and got an appointment for Monday. I worried that the puppies would be too old by then and so called one of my vets in Utah, left a message and had a return call in about 90 seconds. Dr. Bagley said Monday would be fine -- I told him that he needed to move to Missoula.

The whole drama (and it felt like drama) was unsettling. I was disappointed that I had such a hard time finding a vet who was willing to meet my request. And then I started to wonder if I was being unreasonable and demanding, which made me wonder if I am unreasonable and demanding in general, and that caused me to do some self-reflection (and some mental ranting at vets and their staff). In the end I decided that likely I was demanding and do have pretty high standards but that I was okay with all that and therefore not likely to change. In the midst of all this mental self-examination and ranting, I managed to beat Galen at Scrabble and not by spelling the words, "dewclaw" or "bitch".

And so the puppies retain their rear dewclaws and I need a new vet. Do I go to the vet I already had the appointment with on Tuesday, even though she has at least one staff member who needs to attend Customer Service 101 and she would not do a house call for me? Or do I keep looking? I think you will agree with me that the best solution to this is that one of my children needs to attend vet school -- and soon!

The puppies are perfectly content to wait until Monday as they are extremely busy. Five day old puppies have a lot to do -- eat, sleep, scoot around, and make a variety of interesting noises. Sometimes they even try to suffocate themselves but they seem to be getting a grip and are less likely to engage in potentially self-destructive behavior -- we are definitely grateful for this! Their growth is really unreal -- if Cadi were a Holstein she would definitely be the star at the Dairy and win a blue ribbon at the State Fair! Her puppies are gaining at an incredible rate. They are round and satisfied little babies -- and of course, they are extremely clean!

Happy Thanksgiving! It does not feel like Thanksgiving to me because we are not going to be with our family this year :( I can't go to Utah because of the puppies, and we decided it did not make sense for Kim and others to come here so it will be a different kind of holiday for us. I will be in Utah soon for the winter break and so it will be okay but yes, it is a a little sad not to be joining everyone for the Big Dinner. Galen and I are planning a Scrabble tournament and we will have our own little dinner, and we will be very thankful that all of the puppies are doing so well.

I love today's pictures as they really give you a sense of things here. There are five puppy faces taken at the Dairy Bar -- isn't that a sweet picture?! There are also two pictured close-up as they rested on Cadi after nursing. Jamaica is getting a scrub down from Cadi in one picture, another is being held and washed, and Toronto is getting a kiss from Cadi in another. There is a close-up of Toronto as well -- he is on his side with a paw up. Ireland is the puppy who is on her side and lifting her head up. The two that are nose to nose are Hudson and Ireland.

I hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends, and that you find many reasons to be thankful! The puppies are thankful for such loyal friends :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Little Moments, Big Successes

As I was sitting here thinking about what to write, I realized that the puppies have only very small accomplishments or changes to report. And that made me think about how those small things are actually wonderful, interesting, big things, and from there I thought about how easy it is to overlook all those things in our own lives -- those seemingly insignificant achievements that make up our daily lives. When we are kind to someone for that brief moment in time that we connect in a line, or when we are patient with a child or co-worker, or even when we manage to eat a good breakfast or walk our dog -- those are things to be proud of in our lives. The Big Successes are far and few between, but our days are made up of many small successes that deserve recognition.

And so let me tell you that Jamaica is an explorer! She likes to scoot around the box, and when you are just three days old I think that is something to cheer! And the boys -- well, they are serious tanks. They belly up to that Dairy Bar that appears to be serving out straight cream and they are gaining weight like nobody's business. In a 24 hour period ending last evening, Hudson, Toronto and Whitby all gained about four ounces! Now, I would have no trouble gaining four ounces in one day but pretend you weigh 150 pounds -- in order to equal Hudson's accomplishment of gaining 18% of his weight in 24 hours you would need to gain 27 pounds!!! Isn't that just incredible to think about?!

The biggest puppy in the litter right now is Toronto. He is a big, solid boy weighing just under 30 ounces. Hudson is a couple of ounces behind him, and at the other end, three girls are in the 20 ounce range: Ireland, Jamaica and Geneva. They seem so small next to those big boys but they are growing well and doing just fine. Geneva does continue to blow bubbles but I have decided to just watch her and not give her antibiotics for an infection that she does not have. She is gaining weight and seems fine so we will just hope she outgrows this.

Cadi is settling down nicely. She seems more careful and is more relaxed. I still have to feed her next to her whelping box or else she will not eat, and getting her to even go outside to potty is a chore and I have to stay with her to remind her why we are outside. But I am feeling hopeful that soon we will not need to be awake all the time, which would be very nice because getting up at 2 a.m. is a bit early even for me!

Someone asked about Cadi's collar -- it says, "Always Nice, Never Naughty". Someone else asked about how we are managing everyone -- it is a challenge but we are trying hard. Zoey and Faith are in an x-pen close by (in the Great Room) and we make sure they are getting walks, play time, things to chew, and go outside for potty breaks. They actually seem to be doing quite well with all this. The older dogs are also doing okay. I have a gate up between the Great Room and whelping box room, and Cadi is okay with them on the other side of the gate. So I sit here and Asia -- my shadow -- sits next to me on the other side of the gate. I am managing to get daily walks in with all of them, even if the walks are shorter than normal, and I also try to do a little training with them as well. I am trying to focus on the small successes/accomplishments of my days or else I would feel terrible at not getting enough done!

Today at 2 p.m. the vet is coming to remove the rear dewclaws. I hate this but it is one of those unpleasant things that must be done -- our breed standard calls for it. In Halo's litter there were just two puppies who had rear dewclaws but all eight in this litter have them -- bummer :( They are loosely attached and so removal is easy and fast, and they will be numb but that numbing injection still hurts. I hate that I have to allow something painful or bad to happen to them when everything we are doing is about making sure they are getting the very best start in life.

Pictures! The puppy draped over Cadi's paw is Sydney -- remember that she has that big white left paw. The close-up profile is Hudson. The puppy on his back is Toronto. The puppy sleeping on Cadi's neck is Jamaica. The close-ups let you see how fast that pigment is coming in and yes, as Marti noted we have dark rust! I did not even see that until Marti mentioned it -- thanks! Don't forget that clicking on a picture enlarges it.

As most of you already know, we do not mark puppies but rather learn to recognize them -- and you will also! When Cali came up to visit Halo's puppies when they were just three weeks old, she could correctly identify them all just from pictures!! Will you be up for the Cali Challenge??? Start studying!

Thanks for visiting us and I hope your day is filled with little moments that you recognize as big successes!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Puppy Safety Patrol Reporting Live

It is 3 a.m. and here I sit on Puppy Safety Patrol. The need for this was illustrated yesterday. I was about 15 feet away from the whelping box at the kitchen table having breakfast. I had settled Cadi with puppies and all was well just a minute before. I heard some squeaking and looked over to see Halo with a very concerned expression. I jumped up and ran to the box, quickly counted seven puppies and dragged Cadi up to find that she had rolled onto a puppy! The puppy was okay but another few minutes and she would not have been. Very scary :(

The puppies can scoot around and so they spread out a bit. As Cadi rolls to lick one puppy who has scooted off, she easily can land on another. They are so small and she is a new mom so this is just a reality of raising a litter. I know of so many litters that have lost puppies in that way -- it just takes a few minutes. As the puppies get bigger and louder, and Cadi becomes more experienced this risk will be reduced and we can have a more relaxed Puppy Safety Patrol -- but for now we are vigilant and exhausted.

Speaking of exhausted, Cadi is finally starting to sleep. At this moment she is snoring and her tongue is hanging out -- she is completely zonked out. Cadi has not really been sleeping for days and so I think it is all catching up with her and now she sleeps more while puppies nurse rather than trying to lick the fur right off of them. She is still going for that Clean Puppy award, but she actually takes breaks now, which is good for all involved!

The puppies are thriving. Last night I calculated weight gain at 48 hours and it ranged from 22% over birth weight to 34%! This is impressive. I suspect that all the licking Cadi does keeps those puppies stimulated and so they nurse, and since Cadi can't really be the Beauty Queen she is right now, she has decided to be the Dairy Queen instead. Puppies are definitely benefiting from the great abundance of milk, and they are plump and sleek (and clean!).

The puppies are entering the Smudge Puppy phase. This is when the pigment on their noses starts to darken, and it looks like their noses are just dirty. Yesterday I thought one had something on his nose so wiped it but it was just a spot of pigment so it stayed on :)

I took a picture just to show you what I mean about the smudge on the nose. I was marveling at the little feet and so I took a close-up of a rear foot to share with you. The foot still has the rear dewclaw, as you can see; those will come off tomorrow afternoon. We remove only rear dewclaws (not the front ones) and it is done with local anesthesia but still not a fun time. When I am cleaning the whelping box I put the puppies in a basket on a heating pad; the one picture is of that from last night. The rest of the pictures are self-explanatory -- just pretty little puppies with a proud, obsessive mother! I did want to mention one more thing -- in the interest of helping you learn to recognize the puppies please note the first picture. Do you see that big white front foot? That is Sydney and the white markings on that foot are distinctive and just like her mom.

I hope you are obsessive about having a wonderful day -- one you can be proud of! Thanks for visiting.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Dog has OCD

Yes indeed, Cadi is obsessive and compulsive -- about cleanliness. Next thing you know she will be washing her paws 100 times per hour but for now, it is all about the babies. There has never been such clean puppies! She licks and licks and licks some more. Right now they are sleeping next to her under the sweet blanket Liz knitted for them. I put the blanket over them to help keep their little wet bodies warm and also to protect them from further salivary assaults. It is not working too well -- I keep replacing the blanket as Cadi is nothing if not persistent!

The puppies are doing well. They are gaining weight very nicely thanks to Cadi's enthusiastic response to that "got milk?" campaign. I am still worried about Geneva -- she is the girl who blows milk bubbles out her nose near the end of her feedings. There does not seem to be much to do about this except to watch it and consider antibiotics to guard against aspirate pneumonia -- anyone have ideas on this?

This first week is a stressful one. We made it through the first Big Drama -- the delivery. There was indeed a distressed puppy, which is why we had green discharge on Saturday and so good thing we did the c section and got everyone out safely. But c sections are so scary because the puppies do not have the benefit of getting squeezed and stimulated by a vaginal birth, and so they are limp when they come out, and they come out fast so suddenly there are all these wet, lifeless puppies in their watery sacs all around. We were very lucky to have enough hands at the vet clinic to support this, and all puppies were quickly breathing and doing well.

We are now in the throes of the stressful first week. Survival is not guaranteed and so we anxiously watch the puppies for signs that they are not okay. We weigh them twice a day, recording their weights on individual data sheets to watch for trends and compare progress. A lack of weight gain would be an early sign of problems so this is more than just tracking growth.

Puppies are lost from suffocation and Cadi is, well, she has never been exactly a dainty, quiet creature. She approaches life with a Big Presence and so we watch her exuberance closely to make sure puppies stay safe. In her zeal at attacking the cleaning of one, she tends to forget about the others and they are too small to be effective at signaling distress if she is on top of them and so we are the Puppy Safety Patrol for now. We are staying awake with her all the time -- Galen and I are splitting up the nights and so I slept from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. and now I am up while Galen sleeps. Yesterday we were discussing our puppy counting methods -- Galen does four and four, and I look for three, three and two.

In addition to worry and lack of sleep, the first week is marked by laundry. New moms are messy and so we have Cadi with discharge and of course, puppies pee/poop so we go through a lot of towels and washcloths and fleece. The washer/dryer are almost always going these days as we try to stay ahead of the laundry.

All the attention required by a new litter means that there is less energy/time for anything else. I have to make a conscious effort to do other things. Yesterday I made certain that all of the other dogs got walked and that I did some training. Asia is getting ready for the Invitational (December 13 - 14) and we have to practice and also stay on top of her grooming. I am definitely sliding off the top with that, but all we can do is our best -- right?!

And so the first week is a challenging one but it is also temporary. I find it useful to remind myself of that -- like everything else in life, this will pass and I will never again have the first week with the Glitter Litter. Staying present in the moment and not letting the worry/stress/laundry/lack of time overwhelm me allows me to appreciate the fact that we created new life and they are here, inviting the opportunity to honor the miracle by doing this as well as we possibly can. Unfortunately, Cadi and I have different ideas about how to do this well -- hers involves wet puppies being pushed all over the whelping box and mine involves warm, dry puppies collected neatly under a blanket -- time to get up for the tenth time since I started this post and replace that blanket!!

The pictures capture life here at Puppy Central pretty well. There are two of Cadi in her obsessive cleaning mode, including one in which the puppy is upside down! Puppies eat and sleep right now, and this makes for some very sweet pictures. Galen was holding one of the boys last night and out came his tongue!

I wish you well in your day -- I hope it is a warm one, even if the weather is not.